On Saturday, October 20, at 3:00 PM, at Trinity Lutheran Church in Grand Rapids, Michigan, Ring 211 held its inaugural Bob & Judie Kramer Novelty Or Variety Stage Act Competition. The contest was open to any amateur magician in the West Michigan area. Any person with a skill in juggling, ventriloquist, mentalism, or clowning could also be part of the contest. The contest contained up to ten participants. The participant had to pay a fee plus be or become a member of Ring 211. First place prize was $500.00 and the honor of performing on the cabaret show of the distinguished Earl Ray Wilcox Memorial Annual Hocus Pocus Party.
Ring 211 began in 1969 as an independent magic club and Bob Kramer was instrumental in having the club become a Ring of the International Brotherhood of Magicians which it obtained in 1971. Bob Kramer also operated a magic shop in the early 1970s called Alladdin’s. Bob and his wife Judie were also a vibrant and excellent act and performed across the USA for companies and colleges, etc. Then in the 1980s they bought Magnum Entertainment, an entertainment agency in Grand Rapids. Soon it became Kramer International and books prime acts worldwide. Bob and Judie, now in their retirement years, have decided to have such a competition to help promote excellence and the continued development of amateur magicians to possibly become professional and with the focus of membership in Ring 211. They have set up a Trust Fund for this contest for the next fifteen years.
The contest chairman was Dave Bogdan, who is also a booker at Kramer International. The contest was promoted by club members through email, the club’s web site, flyers, and even Facebook. There was free admission to see the contest which ran as a magic show. Dave Bogdan was the M.C. and performed an audience participation routine between acts. A panel of judges along with the audience witnessed a fun-filled show. Randy Vander Wal and P. J. Weber performed short routines after the contestants while the judges tabulated their results. Ron Carnell and Nicholas Watkins each received a Certificate of Excellence for their acts. Peter Stobie took second place and will have free dues for the upcoming year. Jesse Shira received the top prize.
The club thanks Bob and Judie Kramer for this wonderful opportunity, Dave Bogdan, Gil Scott, Jim & Michele Parkes, other contest committee people, our contestants, P. J. and Randy, Peter Stobie and his church for the venue, the judges, and our audience for a wonderful afternoon of magic!